Obama Administration Proposes Tougher Clean Air Standards

08/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON — (AP) _ The Obama administration is proposing to strengthen a key air pollution health standard.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it wants to tighten the requirement for the level of nitrogen dioxide concentration in the air.

Nitrogen dioxide is released from motor vehicles, coal burning power plants and factories. It can cause respiratory problems and is of special danger to children and people suffering from asthma. The federal healthy air standard for nitrogen oxide has not been changed in 35 years.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the proposal reflects the latest scientific findings on what is needed to protect people's health.

The EPA proposal is the first step in changing the standard.